Monday, October 4, 2010

Q&A: A Clear Look

Question: Well, I have read pretty much everything related to nonduality, and still no understanding. But I'm not blaming you. :)

Rodney: Thanks. And besides, blaming is irrelevant in this neck of the woods.

Question: So what else can I do?

Rodney: See that there is nothing else to do, except to recognize that which is presently before you. Any stress, inordinate efforts, and looking away from yourself are the wrong ways to go about this.

Question: It sounds so easy, and yet--

Rodney: It's easier than you could ever fathom. And that's a significant part of the problem (or rather, the issue; for "problem" is too strong a word). Seekers conceive or formulate it to be this or that, and it isn't. Spiritual books, CDs, and DVDs often play into these idealizations, especially when they make this understanding out to be some esoteric, stupor-like form of Enlightenment. Worse still when they suffuse it with everything from visions and mystical powers to throbbing kundalini and ecstatic states of consciousness. But what is present before any of those things are present? A clear look at that question can resolve the issue quite easily.

Question: But I've looked and looked and looked. Please trust me on this.

Rodney: Oh, I do! And I'm fully empathetic to your questions and concerns. That's why I'm pointing to presence as clearly and as directly as I can. But you have to discover it for yourself and by yourself. But on that discovery, you will see that presence is everywhere and within everyone. So with that said, remain mindful of any pause or mental/conceptual cessation that you may have while exploring nonduality (as well as while making yourself a cup of tea or coffee, or simply taking out the trash). See that within that conceptual halting that there is a subtle yet explicit permeation of awareness that is nothing less than your fundamental nature. It appears not to be evident to you right now because your attention is going to everything else: Your thoughts, sensations, feelings of frustration, and arising concepts.

Question: So I should go back and just clear myself of all concepts.

Rodney: Where are you going to go, and who precisely is going to go there? I'm not being picky; for those are very real questions that need to be addressed (which can be done in a few seconds of honest seeing). And why do you need to "clear yourself" of thoughts and concepts? They are going to come up, so just let them. They're part of your natural body/mind functioning. And besides, there is no one there to even let them go! Their witnessing happens automatically. So where can this imagined "you" figure into any of this? It only comes up after the fact. For example, there is the thought "I am a good person." Then there is another thought of "But why can't I be more compassionate?" Because that last thought carries some emotional content, you assume that it defines you, i.e., that you indeed are non-compassionate
and a person. This is the ego, which you can plainly see is just another thought. And thoughts arise in awareness, and you are That, not your thoughts, feelings, or physicality.

Question: Yeah, I'm starting to feel a little bit of the pausing that you were talking about.

Rodney: Allow it to happen naturally. Don't chase it or fret over it. After all, you are awareness proper, which manifests--in the body/mind entities--as a very definite
presence of peace, spaciousness, and clarity that can never be fully described or articulated. And again, everything arises from That and is That. This is something that the mind can never grasp. It can only be discerned or recognized when the mind is not present, such as when there is a pause or directly after some potent insight.

Question: Thanks, Rodney. That all sounds solid. I'll definitely be checking back.

Rodney: Certainly. Meanwhile, all the best.

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News & Info

A Vastness All Around: Awakening to Your Natural State is now available. Rodney's first collection of essays, discussions, and pointers can be ordered through Amazon (starting Oct. 20th), your local bookstore (of whom we are big supporters), or directly from the publisher, Lulu Press.

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4 comments:

Colleen Loehr said...

Reading this post catapults attention into the immediacy of THIS. Thank you for your clear and gentle and potent words, which arise from presence and stir awareness of presence here.

I have ordered your book from Lulu.
All gratitude to you Rodney, you are a true friend to all of us who visit this blog.

Rodney Stevens said...

I deeply appreciate that, Colleen.

And my gratitude to you for allowing me to quote you on the back of the book. :)

Chris said...

Hi, What is Advaita, or Nonduality? Advaita means nondual or "not two." This oneness is a fundamental quality of everything. Everything is a part of and made of one nondual conciousness. Often the question arises, "If it is all one thing, why don’t I experience it that way?" This is confusing oneness for the appearance of sameness. Things can appear different without being separate.

Rodney Stevens said...

Chris,
you are merely overlooking that "oneness," or rather, that presence of awareness that is immediately within and before you. Indeed, it is this nearness that complicates your perceiving it.

But there is no real complication, of course--only an apparent one. For we simply aren't use to looking at something so close up. We only know thoughts and emotions and sensations, etc. But what is there before any of those things are there? Explore this question, with ease and earnestness, and you will have the answer for yourself. And it will be a living and a vital answer, one of true peace and understanding.